Tag Archives | Copyright

Tolkien Lawyers Target “Hobbit House” With Copyright Threats

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Warner Bros. and The Tolkien Estate have issued copyright complaints against a British couple after they raised a decent sum of money for their “Hobbit House” via Kickstarter.

Ernesto via TorrentFreak:

Hollywood studio Warner Bros. and the Tolkien Estate are cracking down on a British couple building a “Hobbit house” campsite. The pair are being forced to change the project’s name and remove all Hobbit references from their Kickstarter campaign. According to Tolkien’s lawyers even words that rhyme with Hobbit are not permitted.

Last month Jan and Ed Lengyel decided to launch a Kickstarter campaign for the Hobbit house they’re building at their Suffolk countryside campsite.

The married couple are running a successful holiday ‘glamping‘ (glamorous camping) business and thought the idyllic location would be very suitable for small house inspired by the popular movie.

The project received a lot of positive press and thousands of pounds were raised in the days that followed.

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Joss Whedon, Lionsgate Targeted in $10 Million ‘Cabin in the Woods’ Lawsuit

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I think the authors and filmmakers of Battle Royale have more grounds to sue Suzanne Collins for The Hunger Games franchise than this guy has suing Joss Whedon and co.

Tim Kenneally via Yahoo News:

Joss Whedon and Lionsgate have been slapped with a $10 million lawsuit by a writer who claims that the 2012 film The Cabin in the Woods was ripped straight from the pages of his book.

Gallagher claims that he published The Little White Trip: A Night in the Pines in 2006 and registered the book with the Writers Guild of America the following year. According to the lawsuit, Gallagher published two runs of the book totaling 7,500 copies and hawked them in areas including Santa Monica, Calif., the Venice Beach boardwalk and the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The similarities between Gallagher’s book and the film are myriad, the suit claims.

“Comparing the Book to the Film, the plots, stories, characters, sequence of events, themes, dialogue, and incidents portrayed in the two works are fictional and, in many respects, the elements in the two works are virtually identical,” the complaint claims.

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Go to Prison for Sharing Files? That’s What Hollywood Wants in the Secret TPP Deal

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Photo by Neil Ballantyne (CC)

The Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) poses massive threats to users in a dizzying number of ways. It will force other TPP signatories to accept the United States’ excessive copyright terms of a minimum of life of the author plus 70 years, while locking the US to the same lengths so it will be harder to shorten them in the future. It contains extreme DRM anti-circumvention provisions that will make it a crime to tinker with, hack, re-sell, preserve, and otherwise control any number of digital files and devices that you own. The TPP will encourage ISPs to monitor and police their users, likely leading to more censorship measures such as the blockage and filtering of content online in the name of copyright enforcement. And in the most recent leak of the TPP’s Intellectual Property chapter, we found an even more alarming provision on trade secrets that could be used to crackdown on journalists and whistleblowers who report on corporate wrongdoing.… Read the rest

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A Pirate Is Transforming EU Copyright Law

Sarah Kaufman reports on Julia Reda, “the German Pirate changing Europe’s copyright law so that it makes sense in the year 2015,” for Vocativ:

The European Union’s law on copyright is ashamedly pre-Internet. It takes into account the Internet as it existed in 2001, the year the law was created. That’s why some countries in the EU allow people to view Netflix and some don’t. It’s why it’s technically illegal in Italy to take a picture of an architectural masterpiece and post it to Facebook. And it’s why posting GIFs that use snippets of TV footage can be a crime in some parts of Europe.

Julia Reda (at right). Photo: Photo: Greens/EFA (CC)

Julia Reda (at right). Photo: Photo: Greens/EFA (CC)

Hundreds of thousands of Europeans are fed up with the outdated copyright laws. In recent years, activists for civil liberties on the Internet have begun trying to bring European copyright law up to date. Just to give you an idea, the law details the boundaries of using materials on CD-ROMS—which, yeah, you get the picture.

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How DMCA Can Be Abused to Silent Critics

In RIP! A REMIX MANIFESTO filmmaker Brett Gaylor explores issues of copyright in the information age, mashing up the media landscape of the 20th century and shattering the wall between users and producers.

In RIP! A REMIX MANIFESTO filmmaker Brett Gaylor explores issues of copyright in the information age, mashing up the media landscape of the 20th century and shattering the wall between users and producers.

Working for a media company, I understand the damage that illegal pirating can inflict. But I’m also guilty of doing it myself. The DMCA was meant to protect artists and their property, but it can also be used in dangerous ways. Take for example, the comic artist, Randy Queen, who filed a DMCA claim against critical posts about his work. He claimed they were infringing. They weren’t, but were removed nonetheless.

Queen has since backed down on his position.

via Comic Book Resources:

Widely ridiculed this week for filing copyright takedown notices and threatening legal action against a blog that criticized his artwork, Darkchylde creator Randy Queen now acknowledges his response “was the wrong one to take.”

“I have been having a very hard time in my personal life with the loss of my mother and my marriage having fallen apart and found myself in a very vulnerable and fragile state of mind,” he explained this morning in a Facebook post.

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Greenpeace ‘Save the Arctic’ Lego Movie Pulled from YouTube

500px-LEGO_logo.svgCopyright or censorship? Or both?

Jon Queally writes at Common Dreams:

UPDATE (1:02 PM EST): Statement sent by Greenpeace to its member regarding the banned video:

It looks like LEGO and its corporate pals are more offended by a video than by the idea of Shell’s plan to drill for Arctic oil. Despite the real risk of a terrible and unstoppable oil spill in icy, pristine waters, Shell is determined to  plunder every last drop of oil it can.

Just like it’s not OK for a tobacco company to market to children, an oil company has no place promoting its brand on kids’ toys. So that’s why we’re asking LEGO to show the world – and our children – that an ethical company won’t work with Shell.

LEGO said last week that it’s “determined to leave a positive impact on society and the planet”.  So are we! That’s why we’re working together to protect our oceans, rainforests and the Arctic.

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The Pirate Bay To Team Up With North Korea

Updated: The announcement of this insane-sounding collaboration turns out to be a hoax, sadly, but imagine what could have been.

An announcement of strange bedfellows by The Pirate Bay:

The Pirate Bay has been hunted in many countries around the world. Today we can reveal that we have been invited by the leader of the republic of Korea, to fight our battles from their network.

This is truly an ironic situation. We have been fighting for a free world, and our opponents are mostly huge corporations from the United States of America, a place where freedom and freedom of speech is said to be held high. And to our help comes a government famous in our part of the world for locking people up for their thoughts and forbidding access to information.

We believe that being offered our virtual asylum in Korea is a first step of this country’s changing view of access to information.

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Schools Consider Taking Ownership Of Students’ Work

What a life lesson the kids will learn. The Washington Post on guidelines under consideration by the county surrounding Washington D.C.:

A proposal by the Prince George’s County Board of Education to copyright work created by staff and students for school could mean that a picture drawn by a first-grader, a lesson plan developed by a teacher or an app created by a teen would belong to the school system, not the individual. Some have questioned the legality of the proposal as it relates to students.

If the policy is approved, the county would become the only jurisdiction in the Washington region where the school board assumes ownership of work done by the school system’s staff and students.

David Rein, a lawyer and adjunct law professor who teaches intellectual property at the University of Missouri in Kansas City, said he had never heard of a local school board enacting a policy allowing it to hold the copyright for a student’s work.

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Sony Releases Major Album Solely To Extend Copyright Protection

The New York Times on a dubious and surreal moment in the history of recorded music:

In response to provisions in a new European copyright law, Sony Music has released a compilation of early Bob Dylan recordings [subtitled] “The Copyright Extension Collection, Vol. 1” — that was rushed to a handful of record shops in Germany, France, Sweden and Britain just after Christmas. Only about 100 copies of the four-CD set were produced, with sparse packaging.

The point of the release was to keep the recordings under copyright protection in Europe, where the laws are in flux.  A change extending copyright in the European Union to 70 years will be in effect by 2014. But recordings cannot benefit unless they were published before the 50-year term expired. The recordings on “Copyright Extension” were about to fall over that legal precipice.

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